#10 (The “Remember” Series)
“REMEMBER MY FAITHFULNESS!”
TEXT: 2 Kings 20:1-11; 18:3-7
INTRO: When is it the hardest time to say “NO” to your kids? For me it was when they had just done some wonderful thing like dishes without being asked, or they followed through on important helpful tasks without being asked, and THEN they came and asked for a favor!
Why is it so hard to say “NO” after they have been good beyond expectation? Because you want to capture these moments and reward them as part of the process of their maturing character, those kind of actions and attitudes that reveal a maturing, caring, thoughtful and unselfish person need rewarding. It is hard NOT to reward good behavior and attitudes! (Unless of course you sense it is being done only for manipulation – and kids can be good at this too!)
While attempts to manipulate God’s blessings and favor will always fail the Bible does teach that those who walk faithfully with the Lord DO find they are generally under the blessings and attention of the Lord.
Our heavenly father also likes to reward faithfulness by His children, nothing is more satisfying in this life than to be able to come before the Lord at a moment of crisis and be able to say “Lord, remember my faithfulness” – not as a form of manipulation, but as a reminder to self and to others that faithfulness counts, that God’s heart is always on the remnant that walk faithfully with Him!
PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches us that being faithful to the Lord opens the door for God to move in our life in unique ways that He otherwise could not or would not be able to do so, God has always kept a unique hand on the faithful remnant who follow Him!
I. THE PLACE OF A FAITHFUL SERVANT 18:3-7; 20:1-3
A. Righteous! 18:3-7
1. Hezekiah was one of the few great kings of Judah!
a. His rule was one of the longest; because he walked faithfully with God the Lord blessed him.
b. Hezekiah tore down all the altars and high places, he set his heart to serve God and cleanse the nation from sinful practices.
c. This was remarkable in light of the fact that his father Ahaz had been such a wicked man and king!
2. It was King Hezekiah that took and
destroyed the bronze serpent that Moses had made because the people of
3. Hezekiah exemplified trust in God, it was the pattern of his life, this is the stuff of true righteousness.
a. He was a man who constantly checked up on himself to see that he was pleasing the Lord, not just during times when he needed something but all the time!
ILLUS: LIKE THE BOY WHO WENT INTO A DRUGSTORE TO USE THE PHONE. AS THE BOY CALLED, THE PHARMACISTS LISTENED TO THE BOY’S PHONE CALL. HE HEARD THE YOUNG MAN ASK ON THE PHONE; “HELLO SIR, I WAS CALLING TO SEE IF YOU NEEDED A LAWN BOY TO WORK FOR YOU? ... OR DO YOU HAVE ONE ALREADY? WELL, IS HE DOING A GOOD JOB, IS HE ADEQUATE? OH, HE IS! SO YOU ARE HAPPY WITH HIM, O.K., THANK YOU SIR, I WAS JUST CHECKING!” WHEN THE BOY HUNG UP THE PHARMACIST WHO NOW FELT SORRY FOR THE BOY SAID TO HIM, “I‘M SORRY SON YOU DIDN’T GET THE JOB, DON’T GIVE UP TRYING.” TO THIS THE PHARMACIST WAS SURPRISED TO HEAR THE BOY’S RESPONS: “OH, NO SIR, I’VE GOT THAT JOB ... I WORK FOR THE MAN ... I WAS JUST CALLING TO CHECK UP TO SEE HOW WELL I WAS DOING!” – Source Unknown
b. Hezekiah was not an “emergency 911 Christian,” he was walking faithfully with the Lord before a crisis hit!
4. There is a big difference between the appearance of righteousness and real righteousness!
5. Too many people make great efforts to look righteous without practicing it in their normal living!
ILLUS: LIKE THE WOMAN ONE DAY WHO FOUND THE PASTOR VISITING HER HOME UNEXPECTINGLY. AS SHE NERVOUSLY GREETED THE PASTOR SHE DECIDED SHE WANTED TO PUT ON A GREAT IMPRESSION OF GODLINESS SO SHE INVIVTED THE PASTOR IN AND STARTED SHARING HOW MUCH SHE LOVED THE LORD AND HIS WAYS. TO PROVE HER P0INT SHE ASKED HER YOUNG DAUGHTER TO RUN AND “GET THAT GOOD BOOK WE ALL LOVE SO MUCH IN THIS FAMILY AND BRING IT HERE.” THE YOUNG GIRL RETURNED A MINUTE LATER AND TO THE EMBARRASSMENT OF THE MOTHER SET DOWN PROUDLY ON THE TABLE IN FRONT OF THE PASTOR THE SEARS CATALOG! – Source Unknown
6. Righteousness means living right, not just in a moment, but as a lifestyle!
a. This was Hezekiah!
b. When Hezekiah later died Isaiah deeply mourned over his death because it was such a great loss to the nation, gone was a godly ruler.
B. Reality 20:1
1. Righteousness does not exempt us from human suffering however, just look at Jesus – and the day came when Hezekiah found himself facing a difficult personal struggle with illness, one that was severe!
2. Hezekiah was not afflicted with disease because of some personal sin issue but because he was human!
a. We need to be careful in judging other Christians when sickness and disaster strikes.
b. Human suffering is the norm and not always the result of some specific personal sin!
3. Hezekiah though not yet that old, was afflicted with some illness that normally resulted in death!
a. Even a very righteous man like him felt the pangs of human frailty.
b. As a gesture of love God sends Isaiah to him to at least let him know of his impending death, this would enable him to make important decisions and not be caught off guard!
4. Even the best Christians are not exempt from suffering and loss!
C. Request 20:2-3
1. Hezekiah however understands that God is not just a God of rules but a God who loves relationships!
2. Hezekiah calls out to God in prayer with a request for healing so that he might live longer to praise and worship the Lord – and lead others in God’s ways!
a. This becomes even more clear in ISAIAH 38:10, 18-19 – here Hezekiah’s prayer is recorded, the prayer that he prayed when he was healed, and he states how in his prime of life he asked God to heal him so he could yet continue to worship and praise and influence others for righteousness!
b. Notice that Hezekiah’s request was not for some personal whim, it was for ministry!
3. The appeal for healing is based on a very important point here; he appeals to God by asking the Lord to “REMEMBER HIS FAITHFULNESS!” 2 Ki 20:3 "Remember, O LORD, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes." And Hezekiah wept bitterly.”
a. This is not an appeal to force God’s hand by good works however!
b. It is simply an acknowledgement that God does honor faithfulness, a principle stated earlier in 2 Sam. 22:21.
4. In fact, this appeal recognizes that he is not NOW trying to be faithful to get something from God but is proof that if the Lord would heal him the Lord can count on him to continue what he already has done; in this sense it is then just the opposite of trying to manipulate God!
5. What a testimony to be able to appeal to the Lord based on a clear conscience of faithful walking with the Lord!
a. God does take notice of the faithful servants He has!
b. Faithfulness does matter!
c. It doesn’t mean Hezekiah was
perfect and flawless, just that he for the vast amount of his life lived
faithfully for the Lord; his heart was always yearning and living for God.
II. THE PROMISES OF FAITHFULNESS SHOW! 20:4-7
A. Reward! 20:4-6
1. It is interesting to note the response from God to a man who had walked faithfully with Him! It was an immediate response!
a. Isaiah hadn’t even left the courtyard yet from delivering the terrible news of impending death when God responded! 2 Ki 20:4-6 “Before Isaiah had left the middle court, the word of the LORD came to him: "Go back and tell Hezekiah, the leader of my people, 'This is what the LORD, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the LORD. I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city for my sake and for the sake of my servant David.'"
b. God’s eyes and ears are tuned to His faithful servants!
2. Isaiah is instructed to return immediately and tell Hezekiah that the Lord has heard his prayers and seen his tears and would heal him completely in 3 days!
3. Not only this, but God even tells him how much longer he will live – exactly! An extra 15 years!
a. Not only would he be healed but he would know the real time of his death so that these years could be carefully planned and made to count for God the most effectively! This is something an already faithful man who certainly want to do!
b. This would also give Hezekiah the
advantage of being to plan a smooth transition from his life and rule to the
next king of
4. True to God’s nature, this was far more than Hezekiah had asked for!
a. God was moved by this man’s faithfulness over the years; the reward of that consistent service was now being realized!
b. God does reward the faithful!!
ILLUS: A PERSIAN LEGEND TELLS THE STORY OF A KING WHO NEEDED A FAITHFUL SERVANT AND HAD TO CHOOSE BETWEEN 2 CANDIDATES FOR THE OFFICE. HE TOOK BOTH THESE MEN AND ASSIGNED THEM A SMALL FIXED WAGE AND ASKED THEM TO FILL A BASKET WITH WATER FROM A NEARBY WELL, SAYING THAT HE WOULD RETURN THAT EVENING TO INSPECT THEIR WORK. AFTER DUMPING ONE OR TWO BUCKETS OF WATER INTO THE BASKET ONE OF THE 2 MEN SAID, “WHAT IS THE GOOD OF DOING THIS USELESS WORK? AS SOON AS WE POUR WATER INTO THESE REED BASKETS THE WATER RUNS OUT THE SEAMS!’ THE OTHER MAN ANSWERED, “I DON’T KNOW WHY HE WANTS US TO DO THIS, BUT WE ARE GETTING A FAIR WAGE, THE USE IS THE MASTER’S BUSINESS, NOT OURS!” THE FIRST MAN THEN SAID, “IF YOU WANT TO CONTINUE DOING A FOOL’S WORK THEN FINE, I’M NOT ... I’M LEAVING!” THROWING DOWN HIS BUCKET, HE LEFT. THE OTHER MAN CONTINUED TO POUR WATER FROM THE WELL INTO HIS LEAKY BUCKET ALL DAY LONG UNTIL THE WELL HAD BECOME DRY! LOOKING DOWN INTO THE WELL HE THOUGHT HE NOTICED SOMETHING NOW THAT IT WAS DRY. SOMETHING SHINING IN THE BOTTOM, IT PROVED TO BE A DIAMOND RING! HE THEN EXCLAIMED, “NOW I SEE THE USE OF POURING WATER INTO THE BASKET. IF THE BUCKET HAD BROUGHT UP THE RING BEFORE THE WELL WAS DRY IT WOULD HAVE BEEN REVEALED IN THE REED BASKET AFTER THE WATER SEEPED OUT. IF NOT, ONCE THE WELL WAS DRY IT TOO WOULD BE FOUND! OUR WORK WAS NOT USELESS OR FOOLISH; THE MASTER KNEW EXACTLY WHAT WAS NEEDED TO BE DONE!” THIS MAN GOT THE KING’S POSITION OF TRUST! – Source Unknown
5. Hezekiah was now to become the recipient of the Lord’s favor, favor that certainly was influenced by his faithful walk for many years!
a. Don’t despair when terrible news come, stay faithful, the Lord will not neglect your faithful service!
b. It is never too late to start living faithfully!
B. Reasonable! 20:7
1. It is interesting to note here the process of healing God chooses to use!
a. While Isaiah is clearly told to tell Hezekiah that the Lord would heal him, Isaiah uses a known pharmacological mixture to administer as medicine to Hezekiah’s boil to enable the cure to take full effect! 2 Ki 20:7 “Then Isaiah said, "Prepare a poultice of figs." They did so and applied it to the boil, and he recovered.”
b. God’s healing doesn’t require us to run away from doctors or medical knowledge!
c. Many times God uses the medical discoveries of the day to carry out His healing! God may have told Isaiah what to use, or what to mix for this, we only know that this was used as part of the process in healing Hezekiah, but clearly it was God who initiated the healing.
2. The idea here is to do everything that is reasonable for the times we live in, and believe the Lord for what cannot be done reasonably!
3. It is not ok to pray to the Lord for something and then ignore what can be reasonably done on our part!
a. If there is nothing that can reasonably be done then trust God with it all.
b. But if there is something that you or someone else can do, do it unless the Lord clearly instructs you not to do something!
c. Isaiah gives instructions to mix up this medicine and administer it to Hezekiah!
ILLUS: LIKE THE LITTLE GIRL WHOSE FATHER WAS A GREAT SCOTTISH PREACHER, IN A MORNING SERVICE SHE HEARD HER FATHER PRAY FOR BADLY NEEDED RAIN IN THE SUNDAY MORNING SERVICE, ASKING FOR RAIN BY EVENING. AFTER LUNCH BACK HOME HE WAS ABOUT TO LEAVE AGAIN FOR THE CHURCH TO GET READY FOR THE EVENING SERVICE WHEN HIS DAUGHTER MET HIM AT THE DOOR WITH AN UMBRELLA THOUGH IT WAS SUNNY OUTSIDE! SHE SAID TO HIM, “HERE IS YOUR UMBRELLA PAPA!” HE SAID, “WHAT DO I NEED IT FOR?” SHE SAID, “YOU PRAYED FOR RAIN THIS MORNING, FOR IT TO START TONIGHT, DON’T YOU EXPECT GOD TO SEND IT?” SO, HE TOOK IT AND WHEN THEY WERE ABOUT TO LEAVE THAT EVENING AGAIN FOR HOME HE WAS SO GLAD HE HAD LISTENED, FOR IT WAS POURING OUTSIDE! HIS DAUGHTER BELIEVED GOD AND TOOK REASONABLE MEASURES TO PREPARE FOR THE ANSWER! – Source Unknown
III. THE POWER OF A FAITHFUL SAVIOR! 20:8-11
A. Restoration! 20:8
1. 2 Ki 20:8 “Hezekiah had asked Isaiah, "What will be the sign that the LORD will heal me and that I will go up to the temple of the LORD on the third day from now?"” On the surface this might seem like a strange question by Hezekiah, asking for a sign that his healing was from God, but it is not strange because a reasonable approach was being followed – medicine; Hezekiah wanted to know if the healing was the result of the medical herbs alone or was it the response of a sovereign God?
2. Perhaps he wanted it clear that God was the healer not just for himself but for the nation, after all it was he that had had the bronze serpent destroyed that Moses had made ... the bronze serpent that had been a symbol of healing by the Lord ... but that had been corrupted by the idolatry of the people!
a. Perhaps Hezekiah’s destruction of that bronze serpent made the people of God wonder if God would still heal, or if God was punishing Hezekiah for destroying it, or the people may have thought Hezekiah was jinxed by destroying it!
b. Asking for a sign would make clear the healing was from God for all to know, and would allay any thoughts that God was displeased with destroying the bronze statue that they had begun to worship as an idol!
3. True to God’s Word (as always!) as spoken from the prophet Isaiah Hezekiah is healed!
a. Perhaps this whole episode of near death was for this reason alone.
b. When God allows suffering in His faithful servants it is to achieve some purpose or goal!
c. This is one of the big differences between Christians and non-Christians, non-Christians look back for cause & effect in suffering to somehow explain it; but believers look forward in time for goals or purpose in what God is wanting to do through this, not cause £ effect from the past! Like the man who was born blind in John 9:3 ... Jesus stated that it was strictly for showing his healing to reveal the “glory of God” that he was born blind, not because of any personal past sin! It wasn’t about past cause and effect, it was about God’s purposes in the future!
4. We view suffering different from the world, we look for what purpose it will accomplish for God’s glory while the world looks back for reasons!
5. For Hezekiah – he is healed, and God grants a miraculous sign to give testimony of His healing power and His sovereignty!
6. The sign would signal Hezekiah’s
return to the “
a. Hezekiah’s fellowship in God’s house would be fully restored!
b. Thus, his healing was not just so he could be feeling good again physically, but so he could get back to the house of God!
c. Restored physically, restored fellowship with God, restored fellowship with God’s people, restored leadership, restored image of God as healer!
d. GOD IS IN THE RESTORATION BUSINESS!
B. Ruler! 20:9-11
1. Hezekiah is asked to choose which way he wanted God to make a statement, by either:
a. Making the shadow on the stairs move forward 10 steps or backwards 10 steps!
b. Hezekiah realized that moving forward 10 steps might not be viewed as that supernatural, a scientist might find natural laws to explain this away! – But to have it go backwards 10 steps is contrary to all known laws!
2. Hezekiah wants no mistakes about God’s power, he chooses the radical sign of time reversing itself!
3. WHO IN HEAVEN’S NAME COULD DO THIS? ONLY A RULER OVER ALL CREATION COULD PULL OFF THIS STUNT! – EXACTLY!!!!
a. Healing a middle aged man would be nothing compared to this miracle!!!
b. This would involve overriding the laws of the universe!!!
c. They weren’t dealing with some deity that can occasionally fix a man’s body; they were dealing with the RULER OF ALL THINGS!
4. What a God they served, a God who is faithful to them and has all power!
5. The God of Hezekiah was not some localized deity like the ones the other nations served; HE WAS EL SHADDAI – the “almighty God!”
6. While some scientist in town might have found a way to explain Hezekiah’s healing by the poultice of figs given to him by Isaiah how could anyone explain time flowing backwards!!!
7. The prophet Isaiah was smarter than any scientist, he knew the power of God, they sought answers and Isaiah had the answer!
JASTROW … A SELF-PROCLAIMED AGNOSTIC WROTE AN INTERESTING PIECE CALLED, “GOD AND
THE ASTRONOMERS” – a sound explanation
may exist for the explosive birth of our universe, but if it does, science
cannot find out what that explanation is. THE SCIENTIST’S pursuit of the past ends
IN the moment of creation. This is
an exceedingly strange development, unexpected by all but the theologians. Theologians have always accepted the Word
of the Bible,
beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.”
8. The ruler of all things responds to the faithfulness of a servant!
a. To the point that He will reverse the effects of time to demonstrate His power!
b. That He will heal and restore those who walk with Him!
9. Don’t underestimate the response of God to those who can say with an honest heart, “REMEMBER MY FAITHFULNESS.”
a. And if you can’t say it now start making today the first day of your walking faithfully with the Lord!
b. He also sees honest intentions to begin to live faithfully!
c. The journey of a million miles begins with one step! Take the first if you haven’t been faithful before, start the journey!
d. If you have been faithful keep on keeping on!
CONCLUSION: The Lord does respond to faithfulness on the part of His children! God does hear the cries of faithful servants and His heart is moved to consider the requests of His faithful children. The man or woman who can say to God, “Remember my faithfulness” is indeed a blessed soul! God will move the heavens (and like in Hezekiah’s day … the Earth!) to help His faithful children.